Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WATCH: Terrifying moment police helicopter is dazzled with blinding light from an £8 laser pen

William Sprout, 23, was jailed for four months after shining the blinding beam at the aircraft as it flew over Warrington in October.

He pointed the cheap laser pen, which can be picked up for as little as £8, from the window of his flat in Morgan Avenue as the helicopter flew overhead while on operational support duties.

The aircraft was hovering 1,000 feet above ground when the blinding beam filled the cockpit with green light on two occasions, leaving the pilot and observation crew temporarily disoriented.

PC Andy Shaw, from the National Police Air Service, said: “When the cockpit is flooded with green light, we can’t see properly and the pilot can’t operate the helicopter safely. We had to move away from the light and weren’t able to carry on with the original assignment.”

The crew used their equipment to locate exactly where the light had been coming from and an officer was sent to Sprout’s address. Captain Scott Broom, who was pilot on the night, said: “Aiming a laser beam at any type of aircraft is a serious offense. The consequences could be disastrous. With the technology the helicopter carries, we can locate the source of any point of light instantly.

“So anyone who is misguided enough to try this sort of thing should think again.”

Since 2010, shining a laser or light at an aircraft in flight has been a criminal offense.

A CAA spokesman said: “We are currently seeing a global surge in incidents of lasers being deliberately shone at aircraft on final approach to airports.

“The aviation industry and the police are doing everything possible to combat the problem and we strongly urge anyone who sees a laser being shone in the night sky near an airport to contact the police immediately.

“Since 2010, shining a laser or light at an aircraft in flight has been a criminal offense and we really need the public’s help to stop these dangerous attacks.”

Story and Video:

Laser pen shone into cockpit of police helicopter over Warrington

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